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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. What are Rowser's plans as he talks to James at the end of Chapter 11?
2. What puts fear into James as he drives through the Mani in Chapter 8?
3. How many bodies are with Owen when he is discovered at the end of Chapter 12?
4. What is distinct about the writing style of Chapter 14?
5. Where is James at the beginning of Chapter 10?
Short Essay Questions
1. What does James Axton learn in Bombay early in Chapter 11?
2. What admission does James make to Lindsay Keller in Chapter 13?
3. How did Del Nearing and Frank Volterra meet?
4. According to Rowser in Chapter 11, what changes are happening in the Northeast Group.
5. In Chapter 8, what does James see in Mani that shakes him up?
6. How does James find a new sense of comfortable stasis at the end of the novel?
7. How is Chapter 14 connected thematically to the rest of the novel?
8. Where is Volterra in his planning for the cult film at the end of Chapter 8?
9. What unfortunate occurrence happens to David Keller in Chapter 13?
10. What unsettling information does Ann Maitland tell James in Chapter 10?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
The place of America in the international community is a recurring motif in the narrative. How are all of the main characters - James Axton, Kathryn Axton, and Owen Brademas - at the back and call of this place? What new dangers are emerging from the ether in regards to Americans abroad? How is James Axton an operative of America in the hostile international world? How does Eliades represent the opposite, a spokesman and operative for a disgruntled world?
Essay Topic 2
James Axton's relationships with women change dramatically over the course of The Names. In certain respects, he is paralyzed throughout with the narrative by his inability to connect emotionally with a woman. Write an essay about this transition in three parts:
Part 1) What is the state of James Axton's marriage to Kathryn at the beginning of the play? Why are the two of them separated? How does the living situation at the beginning of the novel seem prepared to break apart, and what series of events effectively ends their marriage?
Part 2) How does James's interaction with Janet Ruffing typify his relationship with the female gender after his marriage ends? What does this attitude toward sex do for his outlook? Is he more or less happy than when he was married? What is DeLillo saying about marriage in this regard?
Part 3) Discuss James's relationship with Ann Maitland. What do the two have in common? How do these similarities create a deeper connection that transcends James's general attitude toward women? Discuss how this relationship matures, and what this means.
Essay Topic 3
A central theme of Don DeLillo's The Names is the mystical and broad meaning of language. In this novel, language and words not only contain meaning but also a sort of divine truth. Write an essay in three parts about the way DeLillo deals with truth in the novel:
Part 1) Owen Brademas is the major character with the most passionate connection to language in the novel. Discuss what influences in his life, beginning with his childhood, have contributed to this connection. What does he want to do with his life, and how do words become part of this? What is the purpose of ancient words, in his viewpoint?
Part 2) Midway through the novel, the mysterious Vosdanik explains the significance of words to the mysterious cult. Describe the role of language to the lonely men of the desert. Why are they obsessed with them? Historically, what has been the significance of words to spiritual acolytes?
Part 3) What is the methodology of the language cult? Why do they commit their murders? What divine extreme are they reaching for? Citing the words of Vosdanik, Andahl, and Singh, discuss the meaning of the cult in the world of the novel. Are they the touchstone of love of language in The Names?
This section contains 1,280 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)